Frequently Asked Questions
Where is ZuluTime Pilot located?
All ZuluTime training originates from Hangar 5 at the Atlantic Aviation FBO terminal at Martin County Airport, Witham Field (KSUA), a beautiful, well-equipped towered airport on Florida’s Treasure Coast at Stuart. The FBO terminal is located at 2240 SE Witham Field Dr., Stuart, Florida, at the very end of the road. Access to SE Witham Field Drive is on the west side of the airport via South East Dixie Highway (Route A1A). Direct access to our offices at Hangar 5 is through a pedestrian gate in the fence on the right-hand side of SE Witham Field Dr., just before the small parking lot and shaded aircraft tie-downs on your left. If you are coming directly to our offices, please press the ZuluTime buzzer and we will ring you in.
What are the Zulutime’s business hours?
The airport and FBO are open 24 hours and we often fly early in the morning or late at night. Our regular business hours are 8:30 am to 6pm, 7 days a week, all year round.
I have a busy schedule, can I still learn how to fly?
Yes. Most students do not have the luxury of training full time. We have our careers, families and a multitude of other commitments. We will work with your schedule and design a plan that suits your needs. If you can’t fly during our regular office hours we will pair you up with an instructor whose availability matches your schedule.
How is training time charged?
We charge an hourly rate for our aircraft based on one of two kinds of meter installed in our airplanes. The Hobbs meter records how long the engine has been running. The tachometer records how long the engine has been producing power adequate for flight. In either case, the time charged will be the time the engine has been running. In the case of an aircraft without a Hobbs meter, the time charged will be 1.35x the time elapsed on the tachometer. Instructor time is also charged at an hourly rate and includes all time spent with the student conducting the various activities involved during a training session, not limited to the conduct of the training flight itself. Among the activity items for which your instructor will charge are: aircraft pre-flighting, ground school, pre- and post-flight briefings, dual instruction, solo supervision, making your checkride arrangements, checkride preparation and waiting time if you choose to have your instructor accompany you to your checkride at another airport.
What is the estimated total cost for the private pilot’s license?
Unlike training providers that give lowball quotations based on nearly unachievable FAA minimum hour requirements, Zulutime offers students a realistic budget for their training. Since the duration of the program will vary among students based on commitment level, availability and aptitude, it is impossible to offer a fixed program cost, especially for initial training. Based on national averages, however, a good estimate is between nine and twelve thousand ($9-12,000) dollars if the training is accomplished within a three-month period and from eleven to fiftteen thousand dollars ($11-15,000) over a 6 to 8 month time period.
What is a block rate and how large of a purchase do I need to make before I receive a discounted rate?
A block rate refers to a purchase of a specified number of hours of aircraft flight time at a discounted rate where payment is made at the time of purchase, establishing a time credit in the customer’s account against which flight time is expended. Block rates begin at fifteen (15) hours and receive a minimum 5 percent (5%) discount.
What are the advantages to training in a PA-28 Archer vs. a C172 Skyhawk?
The PA-28 Piper Warrior and the Cessna 172 Skyhawk have similar engines and so are comparable in terms of performance and fuel consumption. Their flight characteristics are also similar. Some make the analogy to the difference between a Ford and a Chevy; they look different but ride very much the same. Both are widely accepted as two of the best training aircraft because of their outstanding safety record and positive stability. In our view, the Piper Archer has a slight edge when it comes to encouraging precision in flying approaches and in visibility, which is far better in the low-wing Piper.
Do you offer fixed pricing for your courses?
In a word, “No.” Why not? Many schools will quote a low “all-inclusive” price for their courses in the hopes of attracting students hoping to find the best value. Almost without exception, the fine print reveals that the quotation is not a fixed price guarantee at all, but a package price for a certain limited number of training hours. Additional hours beyond those included in the package are billed at “published rates,” often a “rack” or full retail rate. It’s our experience – we learned the hard way – that these seemingly attractive offers are usually a variation on the classic “bait-and-switch” scheme, where the quoted “fixed price” is unlikely to cover the training necessary for most students to complete the program, requiring the student to make significant additional expenditures in order to finish up. What we do instead is provide a realistic projected budget for the specific training course, not based exclusively on the FAA minimums but based on our experience of the training required to complete the course, and offer students discounted rates for block purchases as an option to reduce their training costs. In almost every case, ZuluTime’s initial quotation will be higher than the competition’s but your actual total cost, lower. Aviation education products are fairly unique in that unlike college tuition, there can be no fixed cost because every student is different and will consume a different amount of hourly-billable resources during the course of satisfying a set of government-established proficiency standards. Keep in mind that as a new consumer of aviation education, you will be looking at educational product offerings emphasizing some constellation of “fast-cheap-good.” As a rule, any given provider will only be able to deliver two of the three. As a consumer, it’s best to have your priorities straight before you purchase, and carefully read and understand all the fine print.
What else would I need to get before I start training? Medical, headset etc.?
Nothing! For the first few hours don’t worry about purchasing any additional pilot kit. You don’t need a medical examination until you are ready to fly solo. (Some students prefer to get it sooner.) Don’t worry about purchasing an expensive headset either. We have several headsets for you to borrow and try. This way you’ll have an opportunity to find the one that will work best for you. The only thing required before your second flight is a Jepessen private pilot syllabus and the FAA Pilot’s Handbook, and both are available from our pilot shop.
Can you estimate the time it will take me to complete the program?
Keep in mind that you are training to pass a practical examination administered by an FAA designee. This is not a program where you just need to accomplish certain tasks and then get certified. Every student learns at their own pace and the time to prepare will be based on your own ability and time commitments. The national average is 65 hours to earn the private pilots license. This number fluctuates with ability and frequency of practice. The more you fly, the easier it gets. If you schedule once a week you will likely be able to get it done in six to eight months.
When I get my license can I rent aircraft over night or for several days?
Absolutely! An aircraft is a great means for business travel and vacationing. There are 5 Piper Warriors in our fleet and so your ability to rent for extended trips rarely interferes with our regular schedule. We do have a daily minimum of two hours on week days and three hours on weekends. For example if you were to take an aircraft on a Tuesday and bring it back on Thursday you would be responsible for a minimum of four hours. We find that this is rarely an issue as people usually put more than the minimum on the aircraft anyway.